The Great Commission – Acts 26:15-18

You Have Been Saved For A Purpose

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?'”

” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'”

Seeking Servanthood

When Paul had his encounter with the Living God, he was first directed to be the servant of the Lord Jesus.  The first concern of God after people come to him is to follow Him and to serve Him:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

In a culture where we are told every moment of every day that it is all about YOU, this seems to be a foreign concept.  After all, if it is all about ME, why should I care about any of YOU?  This is a tool of Satan as he attacks our minds:

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

This three-pronged attack is very effective at distracting us from being effective servants of the Lord.  If Satan can get us to desire fleshly things, or covet with our eyes, or fill our hearts with pride, he can effectively destroy our walk and ministry for the Lord.

Servants have no rights of their own; their master is Lord over them.  Many of the letters in the New Testament start with the author identifying themselves as bond-slaves of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Himself said:

25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Worthwhile Witness

A great deal of Christians, when witnessing to the lost say, “God has this wonderful plan for your life” or “Escape the fires of Hell!”.  And while both of these are true, we are to be telling people that God desires that people know Him.  We are to tell people what God has done for us in our lives – to free us from the bondage of sin, and to give us the opportunity to live life in victory.

We are to show that we are living lives in victory.  That is how Paul and Silas were able to sing hymns at midnight after being beaten with rods and thrown in jail, resulting in the jailer and his family coming to know Jesus as Lord.  Many have come to faith through the faithful witness of disciples of Christ after people see the peace they have in their lives through difficult time, terrible illness, and other distress.

Smash Strongholds

In order to live our lives in victory, and to help others live in victory, we need to break down the strongholds in our lives:

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

These strongholds are arguments and pretensions that we have in our minds that are contrary to the revealed word of God.  Just a couple of these (certainly not an exhaustive list!) are:

LegalismThere is no law against love

Our works earn us a place in heaven – It is by grace alone through faith that we are saved

God can’t forgive me of my sins, they are too great – If we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive them

We can have strongholds in our lives about finances, sex, and any other number of topics.  God, through His word, is the only authority for all aspects of our lives.  He created the universe and us.  He knows everything there is to know about us.  He knows what will harm us and what will prosper us.  And since Jesus is the embodiment of Truth, we can trust what He says is correct.

Show Salvation

We are to tell of God’s salvation to the lost.  Before witnessing, we are also to pray that God will open the eyes of the blind and that the deaf might hear so that the lost will see the goodness of God, and the free gift of salvation.

By being faithful servants, who have been freed from the bondage of strongholds and pretensions in our minds through the word of the Living God, we are then able to go and do what we have been commissioned to do – make disciples of all nations.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I a faithful servant to Christ?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are glorious, and Your beauty is beyond description.  You shower us with your mercy and grace every moment of every day.  If I only knew just how much You provide for me and protect me from, I would not be able to get off of my knees in praising You.  Father, open my eyes to the strongholds in my life that keep me from being free to serve You as You desire.  Show me in Your word the truth that I need to see in order to shake myself free from the bonds that I have created.  Bind the works of Satan, and help me to be free, for since Jesus has freed me, I am free indeed.  And Father, please send me to people, or send people to me, that I may witness of what You have done in my life, that You would be glorified and that others would know of Your love for them, that they too might be freed and be saved.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Spread the Word – Isaiah 12:4-6

The Lord Expects You To Tell Others What He Has Done

4 In that day you will say:

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Powerfully Proclaim

Has the Lord God Almighty done something wonderful in your life?  Has He redeemed you?  Has He helped you to overcome?  Has He provided for you?  Has He healed you?  Has He made you triumph over your enemies?  If so, proclaim to the world what God has done!  And even if He hasn’t done that for you (maybe you haven’t needed anything like that done for you yet?), proclaim what He has done for the Jews and the Gentiles:  He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the final sacrifice for sin and adopted you as His child!

Regale the Record

When you tell the world what He has done, tell them of the great and mighty things God has done for others as well.  Tell about how He took Abraham, the son of an idol maker, and made his progeny more than the sands of the sea.  Tell of how He parted the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites as Pharaoh and his army were chasing them down, and delivered His people while destroying their enemies.  Tell them of how He struck Saul of Tarsus blind, revealed Himself and renamed Saul as Paul, and what He did through Paul’s life.  Don’t forget to tell about how God has kept every promise and fulfilled every prophecy He has made so far, all in perfect timing, because God is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and All-Present in His creation.

Exalt and Exclaim

God is to be exalted above every name and everyone.  He is worthy of all praise, honor, glory, power, dominion, and deserves to be made known to all.  His righteousness is perfect, and even the angels surrounding His throne cry, “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”  If the angels in His presence declare the holiness of God, should we not also do the same?

Sing Songs

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!  So you don’t sound like the singers in Pentatonix.  So what?  With what breath God has placed in your lungs, and with the lips and vocal cords God has given you, make a joyful noise unto Him!  Do you not think He knows what skill (or lack thereof) He has given you with regard to your voice?  Is it that:

  • You cannot sing?
    • Has the Lord taken your voice from you?  If so, use what God has provided to you to make a joyful noise to Him.  Clap, whistle, stomp your feet!
  • You don’t want to sing?
    • If not, why?  The joy of the Lord is your strength.  Find your joy in Christ, and let it come out of you again, even in your pain, misery, and despair.  Overcome for just a few minutes.  Don’t let the enemy of your soul get the better of you!
  • You aren’t trained to sing?
    • Take classes.  As your worship team at your church to help you.  Take that smart phone you have, record your voice as you sing, and try to match people who are singing.  Ask God to help you to use your voice to honor and glorify Him.  He desires that you do this, so He will make a way…

Everyone, Everywhere

We have been commanded by our Savior to go out into the world, making disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  All means ALL.  Tell everyone!  You are the messenger, the mail-delivery person.  Deliver the mail!  Do you job!  Don’t worry if people get angry at you.  They are angry at the message – this is to be expected.  They cannot separate the message from the messenger, so they may lash out at you because they can’t reach up into heaven to strike against God Himself.  It is an occupational hazard.

Shout Shamelessly

Do you feel the overwhelming desire to shout praises to God because of His goodness, mercy, and grace?  Let it out!  God is giving you the OK to do so.  We need to express to Him our joy in what He has done for us.  The world may think we are crazy.  But God is pleased when we seek to please Him first and not worry about what the world thinks.  Don’t let the enemy of your soul stifle your praise for God because of the whispers in your ear telling you that you shouldn’t: God’s holy word says that you SHOULD!  If David could dance and leap before the Lord in joy, why shouldn’t you?

God is Great

We cheer on our Football Team, our Basketball Team, our Soccer Team, our Hockey Team, our Baseball Team, and every and any other team that is out there.  Why, then, can’t we cheer on our God?  Should we not proclaim to all that God is Great?  Do we only reserve praise, shouts of exclamation, and roars of excitement for sporting events and concerts?  What’s the difference?  Do you not shout for your team to win even if you are at an away game, wearing your team’s jersey, aware that others may not be so thrilled with your choice of team and their success?  If you are willing to do this for “mere mortals”* at a sporting event or in a public gathering where the games are shown, why wouldn’t you do this for your God who is MUCH greater than any sports team?

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I proclaiming the works and goodness of Almighty God to others more often and more loudly than I cheer on mere mortals?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are too gracious to me.  Help me to let the world know of what You have done.  Help me to get my priorities straight, and to give You the greater honor and glory that You so rightly deserve.  Help me to be bold in telling the world about You and what You have done for them and myself, and I pray that the Holy Spirit prepares the hearts of any who hear me so that they would receive the seeds that are sown, and be ready to say “Yes!” to Jesus.  Remove the cultural inhibitions that I have, and make me bold for Christ.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


  • You have never met a “mere mortal”.  The Bible instructs us that everyone dies once, then goes to face judgment.  Each and every human being you encounter has an eternal destiny, and though the body may be destroyed, at the second coming of Christ, the graves will open and the sea will give up the dead, and all will be summoned before God, either at the White Throne seat of judgment where the wicked will be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire with Satan and the fallen angels, or take their place at the right hand of God where they will receive their reward in righteousness.  There is no in-between.  Let there be no mistake about it – everyone has an appointment with the Holiest Judge of All – The Lord God Almighty.  With that in mind, look at others now with a different sense of purpose.

 

Ambassadors for Christ – 1 Corinthians 5:16-21

You Have Never Met A Mere Mortal…

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Powerful Perception

As humans, we have a tendency to look at people as just physical beings.  We don’t actually “see” the spirit, so we look outwardly.  Before we knew Christ, we did the same.  But God has awakened within us our spirit, and made us alive in Christ.  And we now need to look at everyone in this same way – alive or dead.

Zombies are a fictitious creature that are physically dead, but somehow animated (usually through some type of viral contagion) that makes the body appear alive, but without the ability to consciously be aware or responsible for its actions.  In a way, before we knew Christ, we were spiritual zombies.  Our spirit was dead, but our physical bodies were still going about doing things.  Once we become alive in Christ, we see the spiritually dead for what they are – and they aren’t even aware of their condition.

Each and every human ever created – whether from the dust or rib like Adam and Eve, or through conception by the Holy Spirit or physical relations – has a soul.  And each of us have an eternal end – either spiritually alive in Christ, or spiritually dead in the Lake of Fire.  Since we have been awakened, let us make every effort to see people in this way, and to tell them of the good news of Christ, that more may awaken from their slumber before it becomes permanent death – eternal separation from the Lord God Almighty.

Creation Changed

The translation in verse seventeen is not quite right.  It should read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation…”  Every time someone is awakened from their spiritual slumber from death to life, a new body part is added to the body.  And when that happens, the body changes – the church (the entire body of Christ) becomes an entirely new creation, having a new part attached to it!  As new parts are attached, the body is able to perform its job better, because it now have more opportunity with its fuller capability to serve the Lord.

And just as Paul said, “The old is gone, the new is here!”, the body is now different and new, and something that it wasn’t before.  The old body now looks different and can act different – it is something new that the world has never seen!  Every time someone accepts Christ, the body of Christ grows and needs to be viewed differently.  We ignore the change to the body to our very peril.  Each piece needs to grow into maturity; otherwise, it will drain the body of resources, and perhaps even make the body look sickly, weak, ineffective, or outright distasteful.  The body must be nurtured, fed well, and exercised in order for it to work effectively.  We cannot ignore new body as it morphs into its new shape and function without severely impacting its health.

Reconciliation Retold

We have been given the message of reconciliation.  Like a messenger who has been given a time-sensitive and urgent message to deliver to key allies in a war, we have been given the message of reconciliation of God and Man through the God-man Jesus Christ.  The message that God is now reconciling us through the shed, perfect blood of His one and only Son Jesus Christ is of paramount importance to get to our allies – those who will listen, receive, and obey the message.

Deliver the Declaration

We have been tasked with getting the message out to all the world.  All people need to hear the message, so that the body can remain healthy and growing, and ensure that all who would be reconciled to God would do so.  You have heard the message.  Be reconciled!

At this time, even in the Middle East, where night has fallen and no one can work, Jesus is sending them dreams and visions, revealing Himself to all who would listen to Him, and imploring them to be reconciled to God.  But even those who have not heard the message will be held to account:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Don’t fall down on the job; be the messenger that God intended for you to be.  Deliver the message to everyone, and let God work on their hearts and the growth of the seed that you have sown.  Remember – You have never seen a mere mortal.  Everyone has an eternal destiny.  Help others find theirs, as you have found yours.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When I look at people, what do I see?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have been gracious to me, and opened my eyes that I would see, and opened my ears that they would hear.  You have redeemed me out of the miry muck of sin, and have given me the robe of righteousness that covered Your Son.  Father, give me a heart that reaches out to those who do not know You.  Help me to model Your character to them, and to treat them as You have treated me, with love, compassion, mercy, and grace.  Help me to reveal You to them, and to speak up regardless of the circumstances.  But in all things, give me a heart of obedience to the Holy Spirit, so that in Your timing, Your way, and with Your words, the message of reconciliation will be properly delivered to all.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Witnessing for God – John 4:39-42

The Power Of The Spoken Word Is Not To Be Underestimated

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Say Something

Sometimes, the most important thing to do is just to say something:

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Since faith comes through hearing the message, if we don’t tell other people, how will they come to faith?  God not only uses people, but also the heavens above to speak about Himself:

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

Even the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  All creation bears witness to Him:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

God prefers that people hear testimony about Himself from people, for we are more persuasive, and people are more able to relate to our experiences.

Seed the Soil

When we speak about Almighty God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we are sowing spiritual seed in the hearts of whomever may hear.  It takes a great effort to prepare the soil, fertilize it, and get it ready for the farmer to plant seed.  The Holy Spirit, using the trials of life, gets the soil of our hearts ready for the seed of the Gospel.

And like all seed, it needs to be watered, and the soil needs to be weeded.  If we don’t, the soil will dry up, and the seed will die.  Paul used this analogy as well:

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

It is important to remember that our job is to plant and water.  God is the one who prepares the soil, and makes the seed grow.  That’s not our responsibility.  Many people take on the burden of results when that solely belongs to God.  Then, when it takes time for the seed to grow, they grow discouraged.  Just as seed takes time to germinate and grow, so too does the word of God in the lives of many people.

Hefty Harvest

And when the plant has reached full maturity, it is time to harvest it.  We have been given the wonderful opportunity to see the work that God has done in someone’s life come to fruition when they believe upon The Lord Jesus Christ and give their life back to Him.  God uses us to help people make the final leap from faith to action.

These are very simple things that disciples of Christ can do, and have been commanded to do.  Yet for some reason, many are not engaging in the tasks that we have been assigned.  Whether it is fear of rejection (you are just the mailman!), not knowing the right answers (be a Berean – study the scriptures!), or whatever else it may be, we need to be engaged in the business with which our King has entrusted us.  Let us be found faithful in our responsibilities so that we will not be ashamed when He returns.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I actively seeking out opportunities to witness to people about the work that God has been doing in my life and the lives of His people?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, give me a heart that is burdened for the lost.  Help me to be more attentive to those who do not know You, and share the good news with them.  Strengthen me when I am challenged, and help me to overcome all obstacles that I may face when speaking about You.  Give me an opportunity today to share You with someone who doesn’t know You, and help me to be content in just doing that.  And when it is time, help me to be one of the workers sent into the fields to harvest those whose soil has been prepared and whose seed has matured.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Witnessing for God – Matthew 10:40-42

God Will Certainly Reward Each And Every One Of Us For What We Have Done In The Flesh

40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

Welcoming the Witness

Jesus proclaims something very profound here regarding witnessing for Him.  When someone accepts you, they are accepting Him.  Those who witness for Christ at His request are His ambassadors.  They have the full weight and power to go out and represent the person abroad.

The disciples of Jesus have been given His full authority to act in His name – His very character – to represent Him to others.  And when we represent Him, we are, in fact, representing the One who sent Him – His Father.  Jesus was God the Father’s ambassador to men, and we have now in turn been passed the baton in this relay race.  Everything that we do will reflect upon not only Jesus but also God the Father – for good, and for bad.  We should keep that in mind before we form conclusions in our minds, say anything to anyone, or do anything that might bring shame upon God.

Receive the Reward

Jesus also clarifies what type of reward we receive when we welcome His ambassadors.  Those who welcome a prophet (as a prophet) will receive the reward of a prophet.  That should cause us pause.  Even if we are the lowliest workers in His kingdom, when we receive a prophet of God as a prophet, we receive his reward as well:

And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.

If we receive a righteous person, we receive a righteous person’s reward.  There is only one who is righteous, and He is Jesus Christ.  He received a great reward – eternal life.  In a like manner, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness:

1 “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Retain the Reward

Gaining the reward is the first giant hurdle.  We have an obligation, a blood-debt, so to speak, with the One who purchased our lives with His very own blood.  Jesus died upon the cross for our sins, offering His blood as the final, and only permanent atoning sacrifice for them:

11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

We are to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.  And Jesus provides us with the litmus test:

If you love me, keep my commands.

When we aid and assist an ambassador, we are, in effect, aiding and assisting the one who sent him/her.  Even providing relief of the desert sun by giving a cup of cold water to the least of his disciples (ambassadors), we are, in effect, doing it to Him:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

And although the gift of salvation is a free one, insofar as we do not have to earn it but merely accept it, how ungrateful would we appear if we did not thank the One who made it, and show our appreciation for His efforts?

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask some questions:  How do I receive ambassadors from God?  Am I living in such a way that I am a faithful ambassador for God?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have sent Your prophets and recorded Your words through them in Your word.  Help me, Father God, that I would listen to Your word, and receive them as You sent them – as Your ambassadors.  Help me to yield myself to Your Holy Spirit, for He testifies about Your Son and is the One You have sent as a down-deposit on my inheritance in You.  Help me to be faithful and obedient to His voice as He speaks to me through Your word.  Guide me so that I would be a faithful ambassador for You as well.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Witnessing for God – Matthew 10:34-39

Choose This Day Whom You Will Love

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own
household.’

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

Agitation and Accord

From the moment a person chooses to believe God and follow Jesus, their life will be irrevocably changed.  People that they once had great relationships with may now become their bitter enemies.  War will ensue where peace had prospered.  And although we are told that, to the best of our ability, we should be at peace with everyone, we will encounter people who view our change of allegiance from Satan (and the world) to God as a declaration of insanity and hatred towards them.

Many people will not be able to understand that disciples of Christ are not people who are now members of a cult.  In their minds, that is how they are perceived.  One moment, they are drinking, carousing, swearing, doing everything that everyone else is doing (right or wrong), and suddenly they become Mr. or Mrs. “goody-two shoes”, declining to participate in activities once considered dear, acceptable, and pleasurable by everyone else.

In the eyes of the world, you have become an enemy of the state – your very actions now show that not only can you not be trusted because you are changing, but that someone or something has remarkable remarkably changed your life, and in their eyes, usually for the worse.  They don’t want to know what it is, because they may begin to get “sucked-in” and have to give up their way of life.  They may also be concerned that in the grey areas of life that they live, you may now have to “rat them out” if they do something that is a bit unlawful.

In their eyes, you have declared war on them and your relationships.

Family can turn Foul

Even the most stable of relationships can be affected.  Jesus lists several familial relationships that may be strained or even broken because of your sudden love of God:

  • Fathers and Sons
  • Mothers and Daughters
  • In-laws and their children’s spouses

Fully expect there to be some resistance by any who have not given their lives to Christ.  Most people in culture believe that family comes first.  And when you give your life to Christ, they may feel as though you have broken this “unwritten” rule of relationship.  The fact is, when you give your life to Christ, you are – in effect – changing your allegiance from your biological family to your spiritual family.

Love the Lord

Your identity has now moved from your biological family to your spiritual family:

48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Additionally, we are to love Christ more than anyone or anything else:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”

In this short passage, it seems to indicate that we must hate our family.  This is not the case!  This is a form of hyperbole – Jesus is merely pointing out that our love for Him should be so strong and secure that our love for our other family members should look like hate in comparison.  We are to love them, but we are to love God even more!

Bear your Burden

This next part of the passage is very similar to the instructions that Jesus gave to His disciples elsewhere:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

We are to bear our burdens and do so with joy.  The Lord God Almighty has replaced our heavy burden of trying to earn our way into Heaven through good deeds (impossible) to merely believing upon the finished work of Christ on the cross for our sins.  Grace and mercy are ours if we decide to accept them.  And in doing so, we must be obedient to God and His word, for we do not wish to rebel against the one who gave their lives His life for ours!

And while obedience to God (which some call works or legalism) does not grant entrance into the kingdom of Heaven, it does show that we love God, even more than our very own lives.  For if we love our lives (the way that we want to do things, living in a way that pleases us rather than pleases God) we will lose them.  If we lose our lives (living them in such a way that they are pleasing to God, regardless of the consequences and outcome of that level of devotion to Him) for His sake, we will gain them:

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I living my life in such a way that, by example, it is a powerful witness to how much I truly love God?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have given me eternal life through the shed blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Help me to live life in such a way that it is a powerful witness to others of You and Your word.  Help me to witness in both actions and words, that both would be in harmony and unity with Your will.  Help me to overcome any sorrow or anger when others who were once considered my friends turn against me because of my love for You.  Help me to have a heart of compassion towards them, and I pray that You will powerfully prepare the soil of their hearts so that the seeds of salvation would take root and flourish in them.  Help me to always remember that You come first, no matter what.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


This blog has been edited for clarity, spelling, and other errors.

Witnessing for God – Matthew 10:26-33

Do Not Fear, For God Will Reveal All

26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.”

Forgo Fear

Most people feel fear.  We are greatly concerned about the unknown.  We dread change, and know that there will be consequences to our actions and inaction.  Jesus tells us here that we have nothing to fear.  John clarifies this in his letters saying,

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

When we are in the Father’s love, there is no need for fear.  We can be assured that God will take care of everything, even if we are, as lambs, being led to the slaughter.  God has already provided for the eternal salvation for our souls, and we can look forward to spending all eternity with Him.  Because of this, we no longer need to fear men nor death.  God has provided in perpetuity for all of our needs.  We can then focus on what He desires us to do:  obey Him in submission to His Spirit, relating the revelation of Him and His Son through His word.

Relate the Revealed

God desires that we relate what He reveals to us through His word and His Spirit to the world.  He desires to be known by all people:

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

Our job is to speak the word of God to anyone and everyone who will listen.  Some will plant seeds, some will water, but it is God who gives the increase.  Sow seed everywhere, and let God do with it what He desires.  Our job is to spread the seed; God’s job is to prepare the soil and grow the crop.

Our Creator Cares

In our distress, we may sometimes feel like God doesn’t care about us or our situation.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!  God greatly cares about all of His children, and He has been actively pursuing them in every place where they live.  For Jesus Christ allowed Himself to be impaled upon the cross nearly two thousand years ago for our sins while we were yet sinners.

Jesus reminds us here that He takes great care in all of His creation.  He is aware of everything that goes on in it.  He provides for the smallest of birds, the sparrow, who are worth very little in the eyes of men.  He reminds us that nothing can happen to them outside of the express will and consent of The Lord God Almighty.  And if He cares so much for the creatures that are of little worth, how much more will He care about us?  He cares so much that He knows how many hairs are on each of our heads.  While that seems strange, it is to imply that there is nothing too insignificant about us that He does not know about or care about.  We take great care and delight in knowing the smallest of details about the ones that we care about.  God does the same, only to a degree that we are unable to even fathom.

When we are tempted to believe that God doesn’t care, it is merely the enemy trying to sow discord, dissension, and distrust in our hearts towards God.  He has been using the same tactics from the very beginning of man – tactics that have been successful for millennia.  After all, what did he say to Eve to entice her to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil?

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Do not Disown

Finally, Jesus gives us a warning.  We are to acknowledge Him before men.  When we do this, He will acknowledge us before the Father.  And if, in fear, we choose not to acknowledge Him before men, He will not acknowledge us before the Father.  We must decide once and for all that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, and that He is the one who saved us from our sins.  We must decide that no matter what happens to us here on Earth, our lives are bound with His.  Our very actions are the litmus test of our faith.  Faith without works is dead.  We must realize that what we do is a far stronger witness than what we say we believe.

In more modern terms, talk is cheap.  What we do reflects our true character and beliefs.  We can lie to ourselves and say that we believe and are fearless; however, when we are faced with our very mortality, what will we choose to do?  Decide now, for our actions will determine whether we are being truthful to ourselves and faithful to God.  Be prepared for what is to come, and trust in the Lord God Almighty who has numbered every hair on your head.  For He will follow through and take care of you, even in death, when by both your words and your actions you acknowledge that Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, is Lord of your life.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do my actions match up with my profession of faith in The Lord God Almighty and His Son, Jesus Christ?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are to be praised and honored, for You are faithful in all that You do.  You have shown us through Your Son that You love us and have loved us, even when we were Your enemies.  Give me strength, endurance, and character this day so that when I am presented with the opportunity to magnify and glorify Your name, that I will not hesitate to do so.  Help me to acknowledge Your Son, Jesus Christ, before any and all men, regardless of the consequences.  Help me to prepare my heart for what may come, and trust in Your character and power to see me through anything that I may encounter.  Help me to be faithful even in death, Father God.  This I ask in the name and character of Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Witnessing for God – Matthew 20:21-25

And They Really ARE Out To Get You…

21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!”

Betrayed by Brothers

Jesus warns His disciples that when they are obedient to His word, they will be betrayed by their very own siblings.  And they won’t just be betrayed – they will be betrayed unto death.  Following Christ as a Disciple, especially witnessing for Christ, carries with it inherent risks.  In Western culture, these risks have been avoided for centuries because the tolerance for others religiously was greatly permitted.  However, since the fulfillment of Scripture of both the reformation of the nation of Israel (1948) and their subsequent independence of gentile control through the Six-Day War (in 1967), there has been an all-out assault on Christianity in the last haven on Earth for them.

It is common in the Middle East nations that have embraced Islam as their core tenet of society (whether overtly or covertly) to ensure that anyone who is caught believing in YHWH and His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, is put to death in a most immediate, public, and brutal way:

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Persecuted by Parents

Parents love their children.  Most parents would place themselves in harm’s way to protect their children, even to the point of death.  But once a person becomes a disciple of Christ, that protection is forfeited.  The hatred of God by His enemies is so strong, that parents would betray their children, even allowing them to be arrested and put to death.  In many cultures, especially ones where they strictly adhere to the teachings of Muhammed and the Quran, there is a duty to reveal anyone who does not believe as they do.

Parents turn their backs on their children, and betray them even to death when they are strict adherents to the “religion of peace.”  But even two thousand years ago, Jewish parents would do the same, believing that their children were apostate, believing in false gods.  And the penalty for that was death.

Children will Cross

This was not a one-way street.  If children found out that there parents were apostate, they also had a duty to report them for the very same reason to receive the very same punishment.  The one that is worshiped in the Jewish culture will not tolerate worship of false Gods.  Neither will the fundamentalist adherents of Islam allow anyone who was declared to be Muslim worship anyone other than Al iLah.  Love that would normally bind together families and smooth out differences is not tolerated when it comes to whom or what a person worships.

Jesus warns that this will happen, so be prepared for the consequences of following Him as His disciple.  It very well may mean the difference between physical life and death.  But thanks be to God that He, through the blood of His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, has given His disciples eternal life found in Him.  Regardless of whether we live or die in the flesh, we are spiritually alive in Christ, and will be so for all eternity, starting from when we believe upon His name.  Worry not about whether you are going to be persecuted or even put to death.  You are alive in Christ!

Depart before Destruction

Jesus instructs his disciples to flee persecution.  He does not require His disciples to be doormats for His enemies.  When persecuted, feel free to flee somewhere else where you will not face persecution.

It is truly a sad day for the disciples of Christ that the United States of America, once the bastion of liberty and a nation that permitted the free exercise of religion now openly persecutes and prosecutes those who adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ.  No longer is their protection to freely worship in public and private.  The state-mandated religion of Secular Humanism is now the religion du jour and the only one fully tolerated by the government (with the exception of Islam being preferred in the background).  Be prepared to lose everything if you decide, as a disciple of Christ, to live by your beliefs in public as well as private.  And now that the last bastion of freedom has vanished, there is no place on Earth where it is safe for disciples of Christ to go and practice their faith without fear of governmental reprisal.

Assault for Association

Jesus warns His disciples that they are not above Him, meaning that whatever mistreatment that He experienced living His life for the glory of God and to His honor, His disciples would endure the same as well.  The student is not above the teacher, receiving preferential treatment and avoiding the costs associated with the learning and practice of that learning in public.

Fully expect that for your identity in Christ that you will be singled out and persecuted if you live your life in the same manner as your Savior.  It is inevitable.  However, in the same way, your identity in Christ brings with it great rewards as well for you are not above your teacher, and will be rewarded for your obedience and submission to Him when God has appointed you to give an accounting for your life.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I fully prepared to suffer the same way that Jesus suffered and for the same reasons?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, please prepare me for what is to come.  For your Son has said that because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of most will grow cold.  Help me to endure to the end that I may be found in Christ.  Give me hope, strength, courage, wisdom, and boldness in life that regardless of what my enemies do to me that I will not flinch but rather be emboldened to speak what I have heard and seen.  Give me courage like a lion that when I am called to account by men I will not shrink back, but rather submit to Your Spirit and thus be used as You intend me to be used.  This I ask in the faithful and precious name of Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Witnessing for God – Matthew 10:16-20

It’s Not Paranoia When They Truly Are Out To Get You

16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

Shrewd as Snakes

Jesus warns His disciples that they will need to be as shrewd as snakes.  He is, literally, sending them us into the pits of vipers.  The religious leaders did their very best to trap Jesus in what He said and did.  And Jesus, submitted to the Holy Spirit, saying only what He heard the Father saying through submission to the Spirit of God, was able to refute them, befuddle them, confound them, and reveal their very hearts to them.

Snakes are very shrewd creatures.  They make very little sound.  They study their prey, and carefully calculate whether they have both the ability and opportunity to take down their prey.  They slowly position themselves around their prey, giving it no opportunity for escape.  For some, they strike hard.  Others they reach out and coil around to slowly squeeze the life-breath out of them.  Others will drop from above without warning on their prey, surprising those that aren’t looking for them.

God desires that we be shrewd as well, for we will encounter these very same types of people looking to malign the good name of The Lord God Almighty.  Be aware of people and what they are trying to do.  Understand their tactics and do your best to prevent yourself from being waylaid.  But Jesus also gave His disciples another piece of advice – be as innocent as doves.

Innocent Inside

Doves were considered “innocent” because they have beautiful white feathers.  White is used throughout scripture as a sign of innocence and purity:

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.”

We are to be aware of our enemies’ ways, yet keep our ways pure.  Just because we understand what they do, we are to choose the path that keeps us as far from sin as possible.  Shrewd does not necessarily mean evil – it means wise.  And Jesus, shrewd towards His accusers, was as innocent as white snow – He never sinned once.  We must remember His example and conduct our lives in a similar manner.

Potential Placement

God fully intends to place His disciples in places where most people would not even be able to secure a private meeting.  He placed the apostle Paul in front of kings and leaders of men.  Paul was faithful in witnessing to them every time he was given the opportunity.  Be prepared to be arrested and brought before the authorities – Jesus has told us this in advance.  And do not worry what you will say, for when you are submitted to the Holy Spirit in obedience to the word of God and His leading, He will provide you with the words that you should speak.

Powerful Persuasion

God Himself, through the Holy Spirit, will provide you with everything that you need to witness.  We can see this in the lives of the apostles as recorded in the word of God in the book of Acts.  Peter, John, and Paul were repeatedly brought before the governors and kings for proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ and His message of salvation.  Their audiences were astounded when they realized that these men had been with Jesus, and apart from Paul (who had the equivalent training in today’s terms of at least a double doctorate in Theology), they were simple men who spoke boldly what they had seen and heard.

And when you are given the opportunity by God to witness, allow Him to provide you with the very words that you speak so that He may be given glory through your obedience to Him.  And when you allow Him to speak through you, He will powerfully use you to bring people into His kingdom.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I allowing God to use me in such a way that He is positioning me to reach the broadest of audiences and the people He wants to hear His message of salvation?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You provide for my every need.  Help me to speak boldly of you every opportunity that I am provided. Help me to submit to Your Spirit that I would speak the words that You intend for me to speak, and to be in the places You intend for me to be.  Help me to yield myself to You so that You can use me in the most powerful and efficient ways possible.  Help me to be bold as I speak, and to completely trust that You are sovereign over my circumstances, regardless of what they are.  Help me to keep my eyes firmly focused upon You, so that regardless of the outcome, You would be glorified and magnified among men.  This I ask in the precious and holy name of Jesus, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?